How to correspond with the United
States Patent and Trademark office concerning patents and issues related
to patent applications.
All business with the United States
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) should be transacted in writing
and all correspondence relating to patent matters should be addressed to
“ COMMISSIONER FOR PATENTS, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20231.” If a special mail
box is appropriate, the special mailbox should also be used. Mail properly
addressed to different mail boxes should be mailed separately to ensure
proper routing. For example, after final correspondence should be mailed
to “Box AF, Commissioner for Patents, Washington DC 20231,” and assignments
should be mailed to “Box Assignments, Director- U.S. Patent and trademark
OfFice, Washington D.C. 20231.” Correspondents should be sure to include
their full return addresses, including zip codes. The principal location
of the USPTO is Crystal Plaza 3, 2021 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington,
Virginia. The personal presence of applicants at the USPTO is unnecessary.
Applicants and attorneys are required
to conduct their business with decorum and courtesy. Papers presented in
violation of this requirement will be returned.
Separate letters (but not necessarily
in separate envelopes) should be written for each distinct subject of inquiry,
such as assignments, payments, orders for printed copies of patents, orders
for copies of records, and requests for other services. None of these inquiries
should be included with letters responding to Office actions in applications.
When a letter concerns a patent application,
the correspondent must include the application number, filing date, and
Art Unit number. When a letter concerns a patent, it must include the name
of the patentee, the title of the invention, the patent number, and the
date of issue.
An order for a copy of an assignment
must give the book and page, or reel and frame of the record, as well as
the name of the inventor; otherwise, an additional charge is made for the
time consumed in making the search for the assignment.
Applications for patents, which are
not published or issued as patents, are not generally open to the public,
and no information concerning them is released except on written authority
of the applicant, his/her assignee, or his/her attorney, or when necessary
to the conduct of the business of the USPTO. Patent application publications
and patents and related records, including records of any decisions, the
records of assignments other than those relating to assignments of unpublished
patent applications, patent applications that are relied upon for priority
in a patent application publication or patent, books, and other records
and papers in the Office are open to the public. They may be inspected
in the USPTO Search Room or copies may
The Office cannot respond to inquiries
concerning the novelty and patentability of an invention prior to the filing
of an application; give advice as to possible infringement of a patent;
advise of the propriety of filing an application; respond to inquiries
as to whether, or to whom, any alleged invention has been patented; act
as an expounder of the patent law or as counselor for individuals, except
in deciding questions arising before it in regularly filed cases. Information
of a general nature may be furnished either directly or by supplying or
calling attention to an appropriate publication.